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  1. #1
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    am I just too heavy to tour cross country?

    I have been planning a cross country bike tour for awhile to lose weight and for the experience. I am in between job assignments, so its a good time. Riding a lot of 30 mile day rides and recently back to back 45 miles on a fully loaded LHT. I weigh 290 and the gear, tent, etc. Is every bit of 50 lbs. The bike feels like a tank, but rides well. Stamina is fine. My problem is pain in the area just inside the sit bones, kind of where the butt cheek meets the leg and crotch. Starts around 20 miles. It hurts the most right when I stand up off the seat, but standing and pedaling upright brings relief. Temporary relief. I'm okay with taking longer to finish the tour and going shorter daily distances (50 miles a day seems reasonable to me), but I am having second thoughts about it due to the pain in that area. I am womdering if my sheer weight on the seat, a brooks B-67, is creating an unresolvable problem. Its fine till I get about 25 miles in. Any suggestions? Am I just too heavy? I do use cream and riding shorts.
    Last edited by JohnX; 03-11-14 at 06:51 AM.

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    That saddle is meant for upright bicycles and for casual cycling use. Its likely too wide to be comfortable on a more bent over bike for longer distances. Even with shorts a saddle that interferes with your legs moving is going to cause rubbing and pain...

    Just my thoughts!
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    First conclusion I come to is the same as nymtber, try a different seat. Your weight is not the issue, lots bigger folks than you have done it and you can too!! Besides, if you watch the nutrition you'll be a lot smaller when you get back!!! Good luck.

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    I edited that original post to change to brooks b-67. Its not a b-66. I don't get chafing on my inside my leg, but the pain does seem to be in the area just inside and forward of the sit bones, which slight depressions I can see on the seat. still, the b-67 is also more for upright riding. But bigger people tend to ride a bit more upright.
    Last edited by JohnX; 03-11-14 at 07:00 AM.

  5. #5
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    I tour on a Men's Terry Liberator Gel. Love it. Don't stay with the brooks just because of their reputation in touring circles.

    BTW...You can gain weight on a cross country tour. I did during the relatively flat, mid-west portion of a nearly four month trip because I was eating like I was still riding in the mountains. And if you are losing a significant amount of weight it means you are eating a good deal less than you are burning. If the deficit is too great you will feel like dirt riding day after day, unless, perhaps, you are doing a low average daily mileage like 50 or fewer.

    You also have to watch out when you get home. I know a woman who gained dozens of pounds over her normal weight after her cross country tour because she kept eating like she was riding 75 miles/day when she no longer was.

  6. #6
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    I have never been a small person although my weight goes up and down... in the day I did a fair amount of cross country touring taking a year off in 1986 to travel cross country. At the time I weigh about 220 (I am 5'8"). After the 8 month trip I was down to 175 and really muscular... that said, day in and day out a saddle is going to cause some issues. At first, it was the worse and I was miserable. Even taking a week off from riding did not provide relief, but after a while my body adjusted and I didn't have as many problems. I did learn clean, dry cycling shorts is a must. I carried 4 pairs and washed dirty shorts as soon as possible and made sure they were completely dry before pulling them back on.

    It took me awhile to find the right saddle... saddles are so personal... what works for one person won't work for the next. But no saddle is comfortable all the time... you learn to take posture breaks, pedal upright, sit on one side of the other, etc. Nice thing about touring is you want ot stop and "smell the roses", get off the bike and walk around.

    Anyway, find a good brand of cycling shorts, use without underwear, find a good brand of chamois cream (I like Assos - well worth the price), make sure shorts fit well and are clean and dry as much as possible. Find the right saddle (I highly recommend Terry's for touring but there are others out there as well like some made by WTB), learn to adjust while riding and you should be find. Your weight is the least of your problems. Have fun... I miss long trips on a bike!
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  7. #7
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    I had that pain and had to tilt the seat about 1 degree down in the front.

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    Don't know about touring just to lose weight (because even if you lose a few lbs, if you don't change your diet, you will gain it back as soon as you stop riding 50 plus miles/day), but if you want to tour, aside from the saddle issue, it sounds like you are physically able to do it. Good luck.

  9. #9
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    John: I wanted to also say if you are riding only 50 miles a day, you have plenty of time to get off the step and take posture breaks. That is not alot of mileage in terms of touring... when I toured it was not uncommon to ride 85 - 125 miles a day and sometime I would approach close to 200... day in and out. It all about just getting into a proper cadence and turning the pedal (and not being able to find a good camp site)... just do some saddle time before you start; work up those butt calluses. BTW my butt is never an issue, most of the pressure when i ride is around my groin area, promdominately on the left side (where I tend to "sit). I've had to learn to adjust my placement on the saddle - going forward and back and do that often as to avoid pressure sores...
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    Thanks everyone for the ideas. I am going to turn my saddle down 1% as suggested. I am going to try some better shorts than what I have been using. I am going to start standing up for a bit before I even get really sore and also do some shifting around before i get sore. I may buy the Terry seat. I am also going to go by the lbs to make sure they think i am fitting the bike properly. i am going to keep on taking overnighters for as far as I can get before going. I really have this idea that tiliting the seat down a degree will help because i tried that once, on my commute and i do remember it worked but it also involved more pressure on arms and shoulders. i think all these things done in conjunction should help a lot. Thanks again.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Tim_Iowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnX View Post
    I am also going to go by the lbs to make sure they think i am fitting the bike properly. I really have this idea that tiliting the seat down a degree will help because i tried that once, on my commute and i do remember it worked but it also involved more pressure on arms and shoulders.
    Yes, a fitting at your LBS might be in order. Just make sure they understand what type of riding you want to do and what your current issues are (don't get talked into race-like fit).

    The down tilt may help. You may have to adjust the fore-aft position of the saddle a tiny bit, and have to adjust the bars a tiny bit (maybe raise them if possible?). Once you change one variable of a fit, it can throw the other variables off. A proper fitting from the bike shop would address all these things.

    And don't be afraid to mark the fit positions with a grease crayon or marker.

  12. #12
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
    I had that pain and had to tilt the seat about 1 degree down in the front.
    Yes. Try making adjustments to the seat. Angle it up, or down, and try sliding fore and aft until you find what works. It may or may not solve the problem, but it costs you almost nothing. I recently got a Brooks Crysium. That alone made a big difference. Playing with the position made small improvements.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

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    I'm a 'new' Brooks fan. Accepted a bunch of others (over the past couple decades) on my various bikes, but tried a B17 Flyer S a couple years ago on my daily commuter. I now have a B17 Flyer S on my commuter, a B17 Flyer S on my road bike, and a B17 on our tandem (captain's position).

    I get the same pain you have when doing long trips on the tandem. I think it is the seat size/length....I'm only 5' 7", and the S versions of the Brooks seem to disappear under me. I'll be getting another S version for our tandem. Maybe that's the issue with the B67 (it's too big for long distances).

    Whatever saddle you end up with...if you don't go for a proper fitting, dedicate a couple 4-5 hour rides on it, and keep the saddle adjustment tools (whatever you require) in your back jersey pocket. I literally adjusted my first Brooks so much I got tired of stopping, but eventually it 'just disappeared' and was comfortable.

    Maybe try a retailer who offers a longer term return program. Like wallbike.com (I'm only a happy customer, not affiliated).

    HTH. A lot of other good suggestions!

  14. #14
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    Let us know what route you're planning on taking when you set off on your adventure. May be some good support, food, or company for a day or two on your ride. I know if you pass through Kansas City area I would definitely meet up with you and ride for a day, or two.

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    Pressure on the perineum can be relieved by

    1. Different saddle width and shape
    2. Bike fit
    3. Saddle angle
    4. Shifting around and standing periodically when riding
    5. How upright you ride. Sit up and begging type position is typically worse.

    I'd get this fixed before the big boy loses his edge. Sounds like it is a combination of the above. FWI....I am trying the Specialized Romin in the 155mm width and might try the Selle Anatomica.

    If you don't mean the perineum, are you talking about the inner thigh? If so, the saddle shape and wide wrong or the saddle is too far forward. See a good bike shop.

  16. #16
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    For a start, judging from the pictures, your saddle is too high.

    Your legs are straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and your toes are pointing downward.

    I'd suggest dropping your saddle height so that when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke, and your heel is on the pedal, your leg is straight, but you shouldn't be stretching. When your foot is placed on the pedal with the ball over the pedal spindle in the 6 o'clock position, there should be a bend in in your leg (around 120 degrees).

    I would suggest that in its current position, your seat is making you rock your hips as you reach for the bottom of the pedal stroke, adding to the wear and tear on your butt.

    It needs to be fixed before you do your tour. I know only too well what will happen if you don't fix it, and it was only the wise advice from a bike shop mechanic in the middle of nowhere that solved my very painful butt issues on my first tour around 17 years ago.
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    You don't look comfortable on the bike. You are reaching way too much to the bars, the saddle is too low, and too far forward. The delicate area is stressed because that is where all your weight is. Maybe find a Serotta fit kit store? And more importantly, a good fitter. Do yourself a favor, find the best local bike shop in terms of fitting and get fit soup to nuts. When you lose weight on tour, then get fit again......

  18. #18
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    well, i have some things to try. seat too high seat too low. The rocking suggestion seems sounds logical to me-my foot is pointing down in my toe clip at the bottom - and my legs are not all that long for my size. most of my height is in my torso area. so i am going to try to lower the seat about an inch and move the seat an inch backwards so that the forward knee lines up with the crank axle. i also have a slightly thinner seat i am going to try; i was confused about htat. i have an older b-66 that i dont' think they make anymore on that bicycle and thought it was a b-67. i have a b-67 also though that i matched up with the b-66 and is not as wide. it may have something to do with that.

    and of course i am going to try to find a bike shop in the jacksonville or palm coast or daytona area that has a good fitter and see what they say. thanks for the suggestions.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    some hole in the middle saddles have a wider nose than necessary, to make room for the hole.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weatherby View Post
    Pressure on the perineum can be relieved by

    1. Different saddle width and shape
    2. Bike fit
    3. Saddle angle
    4. Shifting around and standing periodically when riding
    5. How upright you ride. Sit up and begging type position is typically worse.

    I'd get this fixed before the big boy loses his edge. Sounds like it is a combination of the above. FWI....I am trying the Specialized Romin in the 155mm width and might try the Selle Anatomica.

    If you don't mean the perineum, are you talking about the inner thigh? If so, the saddle shape and wide wrong or the saddle is too far forward. See a good bike shop.
    Really its not the inner thigh or the perineum, its the area that adjoins the sit bones but just inside. Truth be known its probably just the inside part of the sit bone. One of the other suggestions was I was rocking due to extending too far on the downstroke so I am going to ask a fitter about that here in just a few minutes.

  21. #21
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Report back - will be interesting to see what the fitter says... to me the bike looks too big... your arms don't reach comfortably (there should be a slight bend not fully extended) although that may be an issue with flexibility and your legs are much too extended. I think once the proper fit is obtained alot of that pressure you are placing on your groin area will be lessened. It won't be removed entirely, but it should be better. Also can't tell but you may want ot invest in a shoe/pedal system especially if touring. Makes it easier to climb, get out of the saddle, go down scary downhills (and fully pack all downhills are scary) etc. Basically make slight adjustments while riding.

    BTW another adjustment to consider... if you plan to travel on flat terrain, won't be an issue but you are carry alot of weight in your packs upfront. You need to move the larger packs to the rear and smaller up front. any weight on the front wheel will cause a serious and scary wobble going downhill. I had to learn this the hard way. After touring for so long I learned to carry almost everything on the rear racks using only a handlebar bag up front. I actually didn't like that after ahwile either and started carrying small items in a hydration pack on my back instead. You'll learn...
    Last edited by Pamestique; 03-12-14 at 02:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
    Report back - will be interesting to see what the fitter says... to me the bike looks too big... your arms don't reach comfortably (there should be a slight bend not fully extended) although that may be an issue with flexibility and your legs are much too extended. I think once the proper fit is obtained alot of that pressure you are placing on your groin area will be lessened. It won't be removed entirely, but it should be better. Also can't tell but you may want ot invest in a shoe/pedal system especially if touring. Makes it easier to climb, get out of the saddle, go down scary downhills (and fully pack all downhills are scary) etc. Basically make slight adjustments while riding.

    BTW another adjustment to consider... if you plan to travel on flat terrain, won't be an issue but you are carry alot of weight in your packs upfront. You need to move the larger packs to the rear and smaller up front. any weight on the front wheel will cause a serious and scary wobble going downhill. I had to learn this the hard way. After touring for so long I learned to carry almost everything on the rear racks using only a handlebar bag up front. I actually didn't like that after ahwile either and started carrying small items in a hydration pack on my back instead. You'll learn...
    I had my bicycle put on a trainer and pedaled it and was told most everything looked good. the forward knee at parallel was right where it needed to be and they dropped a weight down from the forward knee to pedal spindle. height looked good. the old b-66 he thought should be well broken in after 4 years. they did swivel the handle bar up quite a bit so that gripping the brake hoods promoted a straighter grip to keep the blood flow better and keep the hands from falling asleep. I was told if I was going on a tour, to start training with long rides a whole lot more, stand up more and shift my butt, use padded shorts with chamois (all as earlier recommended here). so that is what I plan to do.

  23. #23
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Good news about the fitting... do you know about the Adventure Cycling Association? [adventurecycling.org]. It's basically the forum for cycletourist... it has a forum and lots of information about how to get started touring. I've also done a number of their rides and used their suggested routes. Great place ot ask question and get reference information that is touring specific. Under "resources" lots of good information including how to properly load a bike for touring... have fun!!!
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  24. #24
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    On my touring bike 1st thingI did was overdo it on spokes in the wheels ..
    I already had setup sorted in the previous 20 years.

  25. #25
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    Thanks all. I am glad I did the fitting, it really helped the handlebar grip and put my mind at ease on the rest. There are some other tips from here i amI going to do also. Face it, you throw 290 lbs on a bicycle and its just not going to look normal. But bottom line is training so I got read the vince lombardi act. I do have the ACA maps and I am really excited. I know its going to be hard but I am ready for the challenge. I just hope a new job assignment doesn't come up till I'm out there.

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